For the orchestra A 440 is the reference tone the entire orchestra tunes to, the benchmark for any fine musical performance. To a chorus it is a pitch pipe and to the musician an electronic tuner. Sailors looked toward the heavens and by using a sextant, sailed by starlight. Hikers utilize the compass. Builders would use a level and a plumb line. All are acting as reference points.
Without these reference points orchestras and choirs would be out of tune. Professional musicians would sound like beginners. Travelers would get hopelessly lost, and buildings would have crooked walls.
Slaves, hoping for freedom from a life of slavery in the south, were taught, from a young age, how to follow the North Star, to the place where that freedom lay. To think, in the vastness of space, God placed a steady reference point for all eternity. It is not surprising then that the wise men followed a star to the place where Jesus was born.
Our lives need reference points as well in order to navigate safely through this journey called life. Without a guiding light, a plumb line, or some other measuring device we really would not know how straight or crooked our journey was.
Without a point of reference we would be like a sailor lost at sea, or an orchestra out of tune. Without some sort of compass we would never know in which direction we were actually heading. Today GPS units, utilizing satellite coordinates, guide us safely throughout the country. These electronic marvels communicate constantly with orbiting satellites and recalculate our route as we travel the highway.
To the Christian what is our reference point? Is it a compass, sextant, plumb line, tuning fork, pitch pipe, a star? No it’s a cross outside Jerusalem. Without the death of Jesus on that cross, our sins would not be atoned for, and had Jesus not risen, we would be hopeless. The Bible, God’s word, becomes our road map and the Holy Spirit our GPS (God’s Positioning Spirit).
The church calendar acts as a point of reference as well helping to keep us centered on the reason for our hope, Jesus. Each season helps us to refocus on the life of Christ. We are currently entering into the season of Lent, the time of year were we focus on the death and resurrection of our Lord. It’s life from death, hope from despair, light in the darkness, and joy unspeakable and full of glory. From Ash Wednesday, through Good Friday, into Resurrection Sunday we journey again to the cross, the grave, and finally to resurrection.
The cross is the reference point to remind us of the great price God paid for our sins, and the love God has for us. For the lost, the cross stands as a beacon of hope, a compass pointing heavenward, a steady reference point for all eternity. Without the cross, I would be lost. Thank God for the cross, our reference point, and Jesus our guide.
But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)
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